Uber is using CES to promote its vision for a future of on-demand air travel.
The ride-hailing company said in May that it plans to roll out air vehicles, which will look like a cross between a helicopter and a giant drone, by 2023. On Monday, in Las Vegas, one of Uber’s partners in its so-called Uber Elevate initiative said it’s unveiling designs for a full vertical-takeoff-and-landing air taxi vehicle.
Uber announced its support for the system, designed by Textron’s Bell division, and called it a “major step” in its push to creating “an on-demand Uber Air network.” The vehicle, known as Bell Nexus, uses hybrid-electric propulsion to power efficient air travel. Bell makes both commercial and military aircraft, according to Textron’s website.
Uber plans to launch its Uber Air service in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Los Angeles, starting in four years. The company has said it will also open an international market that has yet to be announced.
The company is giving a glimpse into the future as it readies a likely initial public offering for 2019, alongside rival ride-hailing company Lyft. Both companies filed confidential paperwork with the SEC in the same week in December. Uber has reportedly been valued at as much as $120 billion for its IPO, while banks pitching Lyft have valued that company at about $18 billion to $30 billion, according to Bloomberg.